Exclusive: TaylorMade R15 & SLDR talk with Brain Bazzel of TaylorMade-adidas Golf
Aug 26, 2015 12:17:59 PM
When the TaylorMade SLDR Driver came out in the summer of 2013 it revolutionized drivers and the concept of a Low Spin/High Launch combination. Can you describe the process and the amount of time that it took the engineers at Taylormade to develop the SLDR Driver? We credit several years of development for the advancement made in the SLDR. For example, each year we have advanced our Titanium casting, thinning out the crown to free up more mass to position low and forward, unlocking that low spin performance and increased distances. We were also able reinvent our moveable weight system to a more adjustable, more intuitive sliding mechanism which required a few years of development and has significantly changed the usage rate.
The TaylorMade R15 Driver was next in the lineup after SLDR. What advantages or disadvantages does the R15 have over the SLDR and what type of golfers will benefit from the changes? Several improvements were made that can benefit a wide range of golfers. We lowered the CG, moved the sliding track to the soles leading edge which served as additional face flexibility component and we freed up enough mass to put two 15g sliding weights in the sole to tune the driver for each player. The two weights positioned low and forward providing that low spin performance and giving the player the option to split the weights and increase the forgiveness.
What changes were made to the R15 driver face -vs- the SLDR? And how will it help golfers? The face utilizes inverted cone technology that protects ball speed on mishits and in the R15, we modified its design slightly to optimize that ball speed protection for the new head structure and newly positioned front track system in the sole.
What percentage of your Tour Staff are playing the R15 driver and what feedback have you gotten from the players throughout 2015? It’s been roughly 50% of the staff for the entire year with the other 50% playing AeroBurner, two great options that deliver performance at the highest level. The R15 was used by Jason Day to win his first Major, the 2015 PGA Championship, averaging 307 yards for the tournament, over 17 yards longer than the field and hitting 73% of the fairways.
TaylorMade is synonymous with having “white” as the driver color of choice. What brought about the concept of introducing both a white and black version on the R15? We pride ourselves in creating the best performing products, but we also spend significant time on the form and design language. The tour players primarily play white and that drives high demand for that model, but research tells us that a large population of golfers demand a black driver, offering both up front satisfied all golfers.
Going forward, where do you envision the next generation of drivers in this series going and how might they be improved even further? We have an allegiance to performance and grind each and every year to make improvements. Simply, golfers want to hit the ball farther, straighter, and do it successfully more often, we have to break new boundaries and unlock improvements in all of these performance categories to help golfers. Each golfers’ swing is unique, we need to provide improved solutions for each of them.
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